Major photography show opens in London with big ambitions

19th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

A major photography show opened in London Thursday featuring a special exhibition on leading war photographer Don McCullin, plus works by established figures like Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Photo London at Somerset House runs until Sunday and offers collectors the chance to snap up major works by photographers from around the world.

Founded last year, Photo London features 85 top galleries and has big ambitions of eventually rivalling events like Paris Photo, a fair held in the French capital.

"We plan to make Photo London the best photography fair in the world -- not the biggest, but the best," said co-founder Michael Benson.

The exhibition of Briton McCullin's work will include black and white shots of London in the 1960s plus pictures of Lebanese refugee camps in 1982 and sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

Other events during the show include appearances by some of the world's leading photographers including McCullin, Mary McCartney and Martin Parr.

While Photo London's founders want to build up the event on the world stage, the event is also a chance to develop the local market.

Collectors in Britain are generally seen as more interested in painting, sculpture and installation art.

"There are collectors, but we need more photography collectors," said James Hyman, director of the James Hyman Gallery in London.

"Paris is very well established. London still needs to gain its international audience."

Hyman added: "The strongest markets are New York and Paris."

"Audiences are very different (in London and Paris)," explained Bernard Utudjian, director of the Polaris Gallery in Paris.

"Last year, many English collectors told me they were discovering contemporary photography."

The fair this year is welcoming galleries from a range of cities from around the world including Paris, New York, Zurich, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Dubai and Tehran.

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© 2016 AFP

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